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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fun with Silver Efex Pro

Today's post is a bit different than my normal posts, as instead of the photos I am mainly going to talk about the tool that I used to create the shots. As long-time readers of my blog know, I had the opportunity during ImagingUSA (held here in San Antonio this year) to talk to the folks at Nik Software about their Silver Efex Pro product. I had been desaturating the colors in shots for about 6-8 weeks prior to being able to talk to them, using originally the saturation sliders in Photoshop CS5, then moving up to the black and white settings in Nik Color Efex Pro. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the results from either of those methods, but I was a bit leary about spending money on a product that I wasn't convinced would give me what I was looking for.

As it turns out, Silver Efex actually works on transferring the colors to a pure black and white coloring scheme, rather than grayscale conversion like most of the other products. I tried the product first on a shot of the Hays Street Bridge during a cloudy, foggy day and was floored by the result (the post is located here).

I took the product a step farther with today's images, I wanted some color to come through, but not all of it. In the first shot of the Riverwalk I just wanted the people in the photo to have color, with the rest of the shot being black and white. The second photo is the shot I posted on Thursday, except this time only the Tower Life Building, the sign on the side of the Hilton, and the light streaks from the river taxis are in color.

I am quite pleased with the results, I am still learning about Silver Efex Pro, but it is without a doubt one of my favorite tools to use when it comes to processing my photos. The black and white desaturation during normal shots is excellent, but it is also flexible and allows me to create shots like yesterday's "Old Fashioned Friday" photo, as well as photos like these.

A Scenic Riverwalk View - Mostly Black and White

Looking Down the Riverwalk - Mostly Black and White

Please feel free to leave any comments/feedback, and remember clicking on the photo takes you to my online gallery hosted over at smugmug where you can view these (and my other photos) in various sizes. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Love these two shots! I can picture a shot like this with colorized water taxi too.

  2. Thanks Cathy! Silver Efex Pro 2 (due out soon) has a selective color feature that is going to integrate selective coloring within the program itself, to make selective coloring an easier process. I am quite looking forward to that!